Catch up TV: Brooklyn Nine-Nine S8, Comedians Giving Lectures S3, Romeo & Duet
James R | On 27, Apr 2022
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 8 (All 4)
The idea of sitting down to laugh at Jake Peralta goofing about isn’t one that necessarily comes easily after the events of the past two years. Season 8 of cop comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, though, does a surprisingly good job at attempting to grapple with big questions of justice, equality and empathy while still being, well, a police sitcom set in the USA. From the off – the show’s creative team scrapped several episodes to begin again mid-production – Season 8 acknowledges the problems that need to be addressed, with one character quitting the force on a moral basis, while Jake foolishly attempts to try and demonstrate that not all cops are bad, before ultimately learning he needs to stop making things about him and listen. At the same time, John C McGinley makes a welcome guest appearance as a police lawyer who is swiftly teed up as a villain representing everything that’s getting in the way of accountability, and every nod to a difficult issue is balanced out with some more conventional slapstick. It’s an occasionally uneven effort, but as a final season for a long-running comedy that has often been one of the funniest and smartest things on TV, it’s a noble attempt to bow out in the right way.
New episodes arrive on Wednesdays.
Comedians Giving Lectures: Season 3 (UKTV Play)
Dave’s The Island may not be about to fill its Taskmaster-shaped hole, but Comedians Giving Lectures’s return is a welcome step towards plugging the gag. The show does exactly what it says on the tin: comedians deliver lectures based on real-life academic talks that have been given in a range of topics. Whereas the first season saw actual experts in each field grade the lectures, the show has since deduced that it’s more important to be funny than factually correct, a move that frees up the format to be something closer to Live at the Apollo, with Powerpoint presentations. At the start of Season 3, that means Toussaint Douglass, Elf Lyons and Frankie Boyle have more free rein to have some fun with their subjects, with the enjoyably on-edge Toussaint not afraid to get personal while talking about relationships and Elf hilariously tries to be as inappropriate as possible while introducing the basics of economics. Frankie Boyle, meanwhile, takes the topic of politics and power as a platform to do his usual stand-up routine – and, true to form, he’s as graphic as he is acerbically pointed, like a university professor you secretly wish would be teaching your course.
New episodes arrive on Mondays.
Romeo & Duet (ITV Hub)
Sometimes, the formula behind a shiny floor show couldn’t be more painfully contrived – and so it is with Romeo & Duet, a romantic game show that match-makes music competitions with dating series and hopes it’s a winning combination. Each singleton has to stand on a balcony and listen to possible matches as they sing a song, hoping that they will hear their perfect partner and their eardrums wooed off their feet. Once the singleton has chosen a match, they go off to rehearse a duet that’s performed at the end of the episode – the studio audience then picks a winner to compete against the others in the series. It’s a flimsy concept at best, although it wins bonus points for not just focusing on heterosexual couples, and the fun of seeing whether a couple can sing comfortably with each other doesn’t really have anything to do with any potential romantic spark. Fortunately, Strictly Come Dancing’s Oti Mabuse is the host and she bring real charisma to proceedings, even if she does repeatedly refer to women as “princesses”, and the presence of the excellent Vikki Stone as the show’s musical director means that this could potentially work as a music contest if not a Blind Date rival.
New episodes arrive on Saturdays.